Sued Over Covid-19, Companies Scramble for Federal Court Shelter

July 20, 2020, 5:56 PM

Here are the day’s top coronavirus stories from the team at Bloomberg Law:

  • FEDERAL COURT SHELTER: The poultry processor Pilgrim’s Pride Corp., faced with a wrongful death lawsuit from the family of a plant worker who died from Covid-19, has raised a novel legal argument: The president made us do it. Citing Donald Trump‘s April 28 executive order compelling Pilgrim’s Pride and other meatpackers to remain open, the company claimed federal court was the proper place for the lawsuit.
  • ELECTION LITIGATION: The 2020 election between President Donald Trump and Joe Biden is shaping up to be the most litigated in U.S. history, as changes to balloting prompted by the coronavirus pandemic spur lawsuits that could leave the outcome in suspense for days or even weeks.
  • A LEGAL GAMBLE: A union’s lawsuit for better Covid-19 protections at Las Vegas resorts will test whether organized labor can keep pace with the fast-moving virus by fighting employers in court and arbitration at the same time.

Editor’s Top Picks

Jobless Aid Ripe for ‘Stop-Start’ Delays if Stimulus Talks Stall
State unemployment agencies are bracing for a processing nightmare if Congress lets expanded weekly benefits expire this month and then enacts a new model—a situation that would require overburdened systems to be reprogrammed twice and almost certainly delay payments to jobless workers.

Florida Teachers Plan Lawsuit to Pause School Reopenings
The Florida Education Association plans to file a lawsuit Monday to stop the state-mandated reopening of public schools next month.

Virus Treatment Based on Race, Ethnicity Threatens Federal Funds
Doctors must ensure they don’t discriminate on the basis of race or ethnicity as they make treatment decisions during the pandemic, the Department of Health and Human Services said Monday.

Florida Vote-by-Mail Suit Ends With Voter Outreach Promise
Groups challenging Florida’s limits on voting by mail agreed Monday to settle their lawsuit against the state, just as a federal trial was scheduled to begin.

Covid-19 Surge Blunts Push to Resume Nursing Home Visits
The push to resume in-person nursing home visits after a four-month absence is colliding with a national resurgence of Covid-19 cases that has, once again, put facility residents at greater risk of infection.

DOL Clarifies How Paid-Leave Law Applies to Business Reopenings
Employers that rehire workers they previously furloughed during the pandemic must honor any paid-leave benefits they accrued prior to the employment separation, and can’t extend a temporary layoff based on a request for additional leave, the Labor Department said in new guidance.

Midnight Order Bars Texas Republicans From Convention Hall
The Texas Republican Party is back to Plan B. After a last-minute legal victory Friday in a battle with Houston’s Democratic mayor, the GOP was ready to move thousands of delegates into the city’s convention center. Now, with a bar on the move from a federal appeals court posted shortly after midnight, the Republicans are stuck holding an online convention that has been beset by technical problems.

Kentucky High Court Saves Governor’s Covid Orders—for Now
The Kentucky Supreme Court on Friday stopped lower courts from blocking Gov. Andy Beshear’s coronavirus-related health orders, rescuing the rules at the eleventh hour from an impending statewide restraining order.

Prison Lockdown Holdup Saves Inmate’s Black Mold Suit for Now
Northampton County Prison officials in Pennsylvania have moved too fast to ditch a former inmate’s claims that he developed medical problems after exposure to black mold growing in his cell, a federal judge in the state has ruled, citing the ongoing pandemic.

Worker Deaths, Illnesses Drive Health-Care Virus Inspections
Inspections of health-care facilities by federal and state workplace safety officials are mounting and most have been prompted by Covid-19 issues. Despite the high inspection numbers, OSHA as of Friday had cited only one employer—a Georgia nursing home fined for allegedly not reporting to the federal agency within one day the hospitalization of six employees.

Revamped Suit Challenges Presidential Power to Bar Entry to U.S.
A new class of plaintiffs claim President Donald Trump’s June 22 proclamation suspending U.S. entry by certain classes of visa holders is an attempt to “unilaterally rewrite the federal immigration laws” and exceeds the scope of his statutory authority. The administration has said the order was necessary to protect U.S. jobs for U.S. workers during the economic downturn.

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Editor’s Note: The Bloomberg Law news team has been closely covering the legal, regulatory, business, and tax implications of the coronavirus pandemic. This daily email highlights the top stories of the day, across practice areas. To unsubscribe, please adjust your Bloomberg Law newsletter settings. For assistance, contact our help desk at 888-560-2529 or help@bloomberglaw.com.

To contact the reporter on this story: Molly Ward in Washington at mward@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Meghashyam Mali at mmali@bloombergindustry.com

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